The economic crisis is not just doing damage in Russia, but has a knock-on effect for its North Caucasus neighbours, says this report. Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed government, for example, will receive a reduced budget from Russia this year due to falling oil prices.
“The kind of support that the Kremlin gets in the North Caucasus is rooted in money,” said Tanya Lokshina, a specialist on Chechnya for Human Rights Watch. “All those regions are living off the federal budget, so if the budget starts to run out they are in big trouble.”
What will happen if Russia withdraws its support for the countries that have become reliant on it? Kremlin critic and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov doubts the loyalty of Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin President, Ramzan Kadyrov:
“The only reason he (Kadyrov) is still staying with Putin is because we are paying him a ransom,” he told Reuters.